Earlier this year, I met with the Minister of State for Digital, the Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP, to make the case for further improvements to broadband services in Norfolk. I therefore welcomed the Government’s subsequent commitment of an additional £11 million for such improvements in the county – which will see superfast broadband coverage in Norfolk rise from 87% this year to 95% by 2020.
Despite this progress however, I am acutely aware that there is still more work to be done to ensure that everyone in Norfolk has superfast broadband as soon as possible. Fast, reliable broadband access is absolutely essential for homes and businesses, no matter how rural they are, if we are to ensure that growth in Norfolk does not get left behind.
While the Chancellor will obviously have limited room for manoeuvre in this week’s Budget, I have asked if we can “turbo charge” the final phase of superfast broadband roll out by giving all of those still waiting to get coverage a rural voucher which they can use, with others in their local communities, to fund improvements much more swiftly.
I very much hope that we might see the Chancellor make an announcement about this tomorrow.